Nothing could be more stressful than owning a car whose engine overheats on a regular basis. To make matters worse, those who find themselves dealing with this problem don't always understand the factors that may be causing it. If you have a car with a tendency to overheat, read on. This article will introduce you to three possible causes at the heart of the problem.
Your coolant level is excessively low.
This is far and away the most frequent culprit behind an overheating engine. That's because without coolant in it, the cooling system in your car simply won't be able to do its job. As a result, the heat will quickly increase, soon leading to an overheated engine.
The good news is that checking the coolant level is a simple enough task that more or less anybody can perform it. Turn the car off, give it time to cool completely, and then pop the hood. Coolant is almost always held in a translucent overflow tank situated beside your radiator. The lid, which pops off easily, should also be labeled accordingly.
The maximum and minimum coolant level will be clearly indicated on the outside of the container. Fill it with fresh coolant to the appropriate level.
Your radiator has become clogged.
If your coolant levels are okay, yet you're still experiencing overheating problems, it may be the case that your radiator is clogged. This happens when old coolant is allowed to remain in the system too long, or when contaminants make their way into it. Either of these things may cause the radiator to become gunked up, thus preventing adequate coolant circulation.
In general, you should have your radiator flushed by a professional either every five years or every 30,000 miles, whichever happens to come first.
Your thermostat isn't opening properly.
Your cooling system is regular by means of a thermostat. Its job is to physically control the flow of coolant into the engine. In other words, when the engine starts to heat up, the thermostat should open more widely, thus keeping temperatures within an appropriate range by increasing the amount of coolant entering the system.
Unfortunately, thermostats can fail as time goes on. The result is a thermostat that won't open, no matter how hot your engine gets. This problem often doesn't manifest when driving around town. Yet at highway speeds your car generates a lot more heat, meaning a bad thermostat will soon lead to overheating.
For more information, contact an auto repair professional, like one at White Pass Garage.